Shooting a video yourself? Here are some tips and tricks to get pro-quality video out of your iPhone. Most of these apply to Android phones as well.

  1. Use a better camera. FiLMiC Pro is a $14.99 app that turbocharges your phone’s camera capabilities. It gives you control of exposure, frame rate, aspect ratio, recording quality and a lot more.
  2. Use a soft cloth to remove smudges from the lens.
  3. Use the back lens, not the selfie lens.
  4. Use a bluetooth microphone for better sound. If that’s not possible, keep the camera within 3′ of the subject.
  5. Shoot in landscape (horizontal) orientation, not portrait (vertical.)
  6. Use a tripod. If you don’t have one, let a friend hold the camera for you; don’t hold it yourself.
  7. Look into the camera lens, not at the person who’s holding  the phone. (Unless you want to appear interview-style.)
  8. Pick a quiet location with minimal background noise.
  9. Try to find an interesting setting. Avoid standing in front of a blank wall if possible.
  10. Pick a well-lit spot and do not shoot against a window or other bright background.
  11. Be aware of your surroundings and what’s in your shot. Remove anything that will be distracting.
  12. Wait a beat before talking and wait a beat when you’re done before cutting. Your editor will thank you.
  13. Smile : )
  14. When you’re finished, export the video clip(s) using AirDrop; a cloud service like DropBox; or by USB cable connected to your desktop computer. Do not email or text the clips from your phone — they will come across at low resolution.
  15. Edit the video with a simple app like iMovie. Add a little polish with fades, transitions and maybe even some music.

Here’s a video that was shot by students and then edited by the team at Allied Pixel:

I look forward to seeing your masterpiece! Good luck.

Bill Haley

P.S. Have a topic you’d like to see discussed? Let me know and I’ll try to get to it in a future post.

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